Dan Sheridan/INPHO Conlan celebrates with dad John and head coach Zaur Antia after booking his place in the 56kg quarter-finals.
# Move On
Michael Conlan is sick and tired of people talking about Billy Walsh
“We’re here to win gold and that Billy’s not in the corner doesn’t mean anything.”

– Niall Kelly reports from Riocentro, Rio de Janeiro

MICHAEL CONLAN WASN’T asked about Billy Walsh, or the impact of his loss on Ireland’s Olympic chances, but he had something that he wanted to get off his chest.

The reigning world bantamweight champion had just boxed his way into the quarter-finals and a medal fight against Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin on Tuesday.

Conlan and defending Olympic champion Katie Taylor, who begins her tournament tomorrow, are the only Irish boxers left standing after a disappointing opening week saw a squad of eight whittled down to just two.

The flat start has led many to question the loss of Walsh, who is here in Rio in his new role as Team USA boxing coach.

But a frustrated Conlan said the focus on Ireland’s former high performance chief has to stop.

“Another thing I want to address is all you guys, every single media person here, keep going on about Billy Walsh,” he said after his unanimous decision win over Aram Avagyan.

It is getting annoying for boxing because Zaur Antia has always been the main man and always will be the main man. I’m looking forward to him bringing me to the Olympic gold medal and my father being in my corner.

“He has always been the main man and always will be as head coach.”

Walsh and Team USA have already captured their first medal of the Games in the ring, Nico Hernandez winning light-flyweight bronze, while Ireland’s hopes rest solely on Conlan and Taylor, who can guarantee a medal on Monday if she beats Mira Potkonen.

“I don’t think Billy’s loss is USA’s gain because I think more of the scoring system and the professional boxing style is suiting the American boxers more. They’re trained by their pro coaches back home.”

“That’s all I can say. I don’t think we’ve lost much when they keep saying it.

It’s a series of unfortunate events, it is what it is, but we’re here to win gold and that Billy’s not in the corner doesn’t mean anything.

Conlan delivers composed and clinical performance to safely advance to Olympic quarter-finals

Ireland’s Fionnuala McCormack finishes in 20th place in Olympic marathon

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